Let me sing for you the songs of my people

I’ve mentioned before that something I ardently respond to in both Quebecois and Newfoundland trad music is how many of the bands and singers I’m following have learned their music from their parents, who learned it from their parents, etc. I.e., they grew up with this music, and it was woven into their lives so deeply that it made them who they are. Their love for it shines through brilliantly in their performances.
Devon Léger quite correctly pointed out to me that Americans are not without such traditions–you just need to know where to look for them. Certainly many American Celtic or folk or country performers are fortunate enough to have that same sort of background, too, and classical performers as well. Those of us in the science fiction folk music community, filk, have some small rumblings of this too. Filk hasn’t really quite been around long enough to have songs handed down from one generation to the next, but I have met people who are doing it, and it’s really cool of them. (I am thinking specifically of you, !)
In the bigger picture of American society, though, people getting together and making music just for the joy of making music is not so much of a thing. This is why I’m so very delighted to have discovered both Irish and Quebecois sessions, and it’s why I linger on the edges of filk circles as well; it’s all part of the same idea.
I had a delightful little epiphany last night, too: all that Elvis Presley music my dad played for me on the stereo when I was a kid is absolutely generational handing down of music. And I’ve actually done it too–playing Great Big Sea songs for and ‘s kid Lillian!
So the next time you hear me say “Let me sing for you the song of my people”, I’ll be about to belt out “Hound Dog”. Or “Ordinary Day”. Or maybe now also “Dans le ville de Paris”, or “Re: Your Brains”.
Because no matter where you’re from, Quebec or Newfoundland or Kentucky or any filk circle in any science fiction convention in the world, if you love music, and you get up and you share it with those around you, you are my people. And I will sing your songs.

4 Replies to “Let me sing for you the songs of my people”

  1. lessee… 2nd gen filkers… Chaos Savitzky (whom you indirectly referenced above), Beth Runnerwolf, Tina Lambard, Katie Tinney, and two more I won’t mention because they’re underage, but both their mums had concerts at Conflikt… Neither Beth nor Tina actively perform, but Chaos regularly performs new material in open filk, and Katie… that young lady is gonna have herself a horsie before she’s our age… if she’s not careful, before she can drink! And I’m sure I’ve missed some….

    1. Chaos and Katie of course I know about–I wasn’t aware Beth was a second gen filker, though. Awesome. I don’t know Tina, I don’t think! Is she local?
      It’d be interesting to see if there are other second generation filkers outside the Pacific Northwest. If other centers of the filk community are starting to establish a second generation, that’d be a wider trend, and that’d be most excellent.

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